Saturday 28 July 2012

Are you needing to recover your groove?

Feeling abit like life is standing still? Pop over to @kateonthinice and her blog to see how you can motivate yourself.

And without further ado here are this month's thoughts for you? I hope one or more of them inspire you and that if they do, you post about your steps towards changing your life in ways large or small and link up.

Back to basics this time I think.

1. Are you proud of the way you look? If you are feeling a little frumpy, what tiny steps can you take to change that?
It's winter here in South Africa so plenty of layers of clothing which adds to the frumpiness of it all, so painted nails, hair done and extra make up applied to add some colour.

2. What skills do you have that are going to waste? What can you do to change that?
Still trying to find away to use my skills, the volunteer work is taking off now. I didn't realise how easy sewing was and I've loved making curtains and repairing clothing.

3. Do you believe in fate or do you think you are in charge of your own destiny? How might you experiment to test your theory?Fate does play a role in our lives, but we shouldn't confuse it with luck. We choose the path we take. For example we didn't have to say yes to a life in South Africa, but I believe fate led us here after years of hard work.

4. How do you feel about helping a good cause? Have you seen the BritMums new service for linking bloggers up to charities? Will you get involved?
I'm currently involved with and both fantastic charities. The Baby House takes in abused and abondonded babies and KWO runs several projects of education, fund raising and support for adults with learning and physical difficulties

5. Summer Holidays - how can you make them better this year?
Well it's winter here until from June to August, so planning a few camping trips north for September before the Summer kicks in and it's too hot to move far from the air con.

6. The Big Question - what can you live without? These questions are always a little random but see how it strikes you.
Well I'm managing to live with limited internet and slow speed, just about coping without a job and my studies. I could live without Chocolate, wine and cigarettes, but It's never struck me as something I need to go without.

Don't forget you can contact Kate via email for further information, visit her website and link up your post on steps to change.

Opening Ceremony Explained? I may be British but I still don't know

As a British Expat in South Africa is it my job to explain the Olympic Opening Ceremony and defend the homeland? Or do I just tell everyone who asks that actually I thought it was pants and no I haven’t a clue what was going on?
I have a short attention span and I find it difficult to sit for any length of time, same reason I rarely go to the movies.

Yes, I was upset I didn’t get the role of a Games Maker at the London 2012 games and I didn’t really want to watch the ceremony for that reason. But I do love the Olympics and will watch the athletes with enthusiasm and cheer on both Team GB and South Africa. I did the same at Barcelona in 1992, when GB weren’t competing it was SA all the way. The atmosphere in the stadium back then was electric and since that day the Olympics has never been able to top those games in my opinion.

I had a ticket for the technical rehearsals for the London games, which due to my current location, I gave to my son back in the UK to use. He said it was fantastic, amazing and refused to tell me what was going on as he knew I’d not watch it.
So hubby and youngest sat down last night at 10pm our time and I joined them and after half an hour I was bored. I didn’t ‘see’ where it was going, the twitter feed was more interesting, so off I went for a bath and fell asleep on the bed.
I went down stairs to wake up hubby and send youngest to bed and I rejoined the ceremony at the point where the teams came into the stadium.

Now that bit I like and I was looking forward to the lighting of the torch. My money was on Redgrave and I hoped for a simple lighting of the flame. I couldn’t have been more impressed if I’d tried.

I love the fact that DSTV had very little commentary and I could hear all the stadium announcements in real time, so really got a feel of what it must’ve been like to have been there.

But there are some things that puzzled me, make me cringe and this morning at the Golf Club I was the British representative for Danny Boyle, The Queen and fellow Brits.

I think the bit where The Queen welcomed James Bond to the Palace will become the greatest TV viewing moment ever, but really Mr Boyle, you should have left it there.

‘No I don’t find Mr Bean even slightly amusing; it is not representative of British humour’ Thanks BBC Entertainment for broadcasting to your expat audience that, ‘allo ‘allo, Keeping up Appearances and 8 year old episodes of Who wants to be a millionaire? giving the impression that we all love it.

Maypoles? I’ve not danced round one since I was in primary school and then I got kicked out the group because one of the boys kept curtseying at the end instead of bowing so my career as a pole dancer was short lived. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Maypole since that day in 1979.

Paul McCartney? ...

Arctic Monkeys? Someone forgot to do a sound check.
And what was with the house? The teenagers and mobile phones? Youth of today, well at least they weren’t looting.

I was a little concerned that Danny Boyle was in charge of it all and thought it would be a bit ‘dark’, but I think he did a good job especially with all that money he had to spend. I tired of the Andy Carroll reference on twitter, it didn’t even relate in the slightest to what was going on. The endless tweets about it being a party political broadcast on behalf of the Labour Party paid for by Cameron and Clegg. BTW where was Clegg? Have you all been asleep for the past 15 Blair years?

And I certainly don’t think the Boyle should be knighted for his part in all this in the same way none of the organisers should be. They will all make a fortune on the back of this for many years to come. Those titles should go to the Games Makers.
And today the Olympics start, well they began on Wednesday with the football. I’ve sorted out my TV viewing guide to watch the athletes and to ensure I don’t miss all my favourite events.

It’s a shame the opening and closing ceremonies have become such an important part of the games and I’ll probably watching the closing titles the same way I viewed the opening ones. In between I shall sit back and watch and enjoy all the medals, the triumphs and the tears. Now the hype is over I can move from my disappointment of not being a Games Maker (cross my fingers I may still get asked to do the Paralympics) and really enjoy the Olympics.

I hope you enjoy them too.

Oh and please don’t question me when they play the wrong anthem or run the wrong flag up the pole...I really can’t answer.

Thursday 26 July 2012

They gave me an answer

On Monday I asked 'Why won't they give me an answer?',

And today I got my answer.

In fact I got 3 answers. 1 reply to an email dated 5th July, another one I sent on the 20th July and a response to a telephone query. Please note that all 3 answers read the same word for word and did not actually address the questions I raised, other than...'do I have a role or not?'

So I have my answer and it's NO, well actually it's not a NO, it's a ......

'We emailed you in May to tell you that we were entering the final stages of our Games Maker recruitment programme. We are now getting back in touch as promised, to update you on the situation.

We’re continuing to work through the final stages of our main recruitment programme, allocating applicants to roles in over 70 different teams within London 2012 as they become available.

At the moment we unfortunately do not have a vacant role that we are able to offer you.

However this does not mean your application has been unsuccessful. The process of filling roles is continuing, and we will carry on making offers from now until the Games as needed. In particular, we still have a number of Paralympic roles that we will be offering over the coming weeks.

So we may call on you to join the Games Maker team at short notice and quickly get to grips with a role. If we do contact you about being a Games Maker, we will of course make sure that you get the necessary training, information and uniform to carry out your role.

However we do understand that you may prefer to leave yourself free to do other things during the Games, and no longer want to be considered for a role. If so, all you need to do is to log in to the Games Maker zone and click ‘withdraw’ under My Application.'

Yes they emailed me the 4th of May, 4 days after they said they would. By that time I had given up on a role at the Olympics, when I applied I was living in the UK, and as the Olympics got nearer I was starting to wonder about the cost of it all, flights, accomodation etc and especially after my Dad's heart attack and additional flight home, finances were getting a bit tight.

Here is an extract from the email sent on the 4th May.

'What this means for you is that you are one of around 20,000 applicants who we know have the skill, determination and passion to be a Games Maker – and we hope to offer you a role in our final round of offers. However we cannot make this offer until a space becomes available due to more roles being required or another applicant rejecting their offer. If you do get an offer, you will receive all the necessary training and uniform in time for your shifts.

We know that this will mean a few more weeks of uncertainty for you as you wait for your offer. We are very hopeful that by the end of June we will have been able to offer you a role, and if not we will be in touch by then to let you know about further options to be involved in London 2012.'

Well they didn't get back to me by the end of June, in fact they only got back to me 32 hours before the Opening Ceremony and that was after I'd kicked up one almighty stink.

Monday 23 July 2012

Why wont London 2012 just give me an answer

Over a month since I wrote this post, 2 weeks after the Olympics ended and 2 days after the paralympics begin and my application as a games maker is still 'under review' how hard is it to send out an email to say 'thanks'

I don’t expect to be given a role as a games maker at this stage in the day, but I do expect some communication from London 2012. If I am offered a role it will cost me the best part of £3000 in flights, accommodation, travel and living expenses.
I volunteered as a Games maker for the London Olympics 2 years ago. Since then I’ve been told I have an interview, moved to South Africa, had a telephone interview. Not been notified by April 30th as promised, instead sent an email on May 4th to say, please be patient ‘we’ll let you know by June 30th’.
During that time my application for the main games was withdrawn, it took until July 5th to have it reinstated. The same day I received another email to say ‘thanks for your patience we will be in touch’
Since then I’ve emailed to which I’ve only received an automated response and telephoned to ask for further info and to explain I’m based in South Africa, I need to book flights, accommodation all, if still available, at considerable cost to myself.
I’m not expecting a role, I’d just like to know what my situation is. On Friday 20th July, I was informed I’m one of about 100 people still waiting to be allocated a role and may get an offer of the Paralympics. Today 23rd July I’m told that the area I’ve been assigned to has been notified of my keenness and the unanswered emails have been addressed with the relevant department. I am now on my 3rd Case ID number since July 2nd.
The games maker zone has not been updated, I check regularly, that’s how I found out my application had been deleted. There is no contact.
I have now missed out on the opportunity to purchase tickets for the London 2012 Olympics as I could not afford to fly to the UK for the games and then either stay for 6 weeks if I got offered a role at the Paralympics or pay for a return flight should I be notified late in the day. My adult son in the UK is attending the technical rehearsal tonight with a ticket I was given as a sweetner.
I’m not expecting a role; I am concerned that I may have missed out on a role while my application showed as withdrawn. My husband has cancelled an important meeting in Europe due to the uncertainty of a role at the Olympics as we have no child care or family in South Africa and cannot afford to pay for the children to return to the UK at the same time.
I’ve had 600+ hits on this blog since 5th July. 163 hits on this blog since 20th July. Yet I get no response from London 2012. Can you help?
There are very few places in South Africa where you can just go and have a walk. We found Art on Main and Zoo Lake, plus there's Groenkloof where you walk round a nature reserve complete with giraffes and zebras. I've also been for a coffee in Pretoria. I've just started venturing out on foot from the security estate to the local Spar shop and a lovely cafe, Birdies and of course you can walk freely around the endless Malls and Botanical gardens.

But what you can't do and I do miss is just leaving my front door and going for a walk, parking near a town and walking around the shops only worrying about the time left on your parking ticket.

Today I had to take my car for a service and also needed to pay a few bills. I was offered a lift home by the garage but I doubt they'd have run me around doing my errands, so after checking it was a safe area, I set off on foot, covering 2 miles of pavements, paid my water and electric bill, visited the post office, paid Telkom, had a coffee and some toast and did a bit of shopping.

I could have been anywhere, similar to the UK and America, typical streets, tree lined, flats, houses, business. The only noticable difference was the security and electric gates and fences and these....

Friday 20 July 2012

Why memes?

After such a fantastic offer from @tattooed_mummy 'ChickenRuby who is my grumpy soulmate' how could I refuse to take part in this meme from Mummy Central but I haven't clue who she is so therefore I can't link back. So I'm going to link you back to @tattooed_mummy blog (she needs the exposure)

So here it is the Why meme; the rules are as follows:

1. Post your whys – as few or as many as you like
2. Link up your post at Mummy Central, and leave a comment here too
3. Tag 5 bloggers to keep this going
4. If you’re not a blogger, leave your whys as a comment below. Id love to read them
5. Show your support by reading a few others and commenting on them

I'm tagging no one but if you want to take part, first find out who Mummy Central is and let me know so I can link and it would be really great if you could answer my whys?

And without further ado, here are my Whys:

Why are they called Robots?
Why are the robots never working?
Why do I get migraines?
Why is it difficult to get anything done here on a visitors visa?
Why am I on a visitors visa?
Why tweet?
Why am I unable to get on with the important things?
Why do I get so easily distracted with Memes when I have important things to do?
Why have I run out of thing to wonder about?

Why am I called ChickenRuby?


Get your arse into gear

This is the email I sent to London 2012 this morning. Click here and here for other blog posts relating to this shambles.

I'm very disappointed that you have not replied to my email below since sending out an auto response on the 5th July.

I do appreciate you are busy what with the Olympic Games approaching in less than a week. But I too am also busy with a family, volunteer work and living 6000 miles away in South Africa.

I need to book a flight, arrange child care, find somewhere to stay, all at considerable expense to myself (as it is to all the other games makers) to enable me to volunteer my time of around 10 hours a day for 2 weeks plus travel time.

I hope you appreciate that despite feeling 3rd place having not already been selected as a Games maker, I'm still here, pathetically hanging on to any shred of hope that after 2 years of waiting you might want or need my services.

All I ask is that with only 1 week to go after 10 years of planning, is that you should be in a position to know by now if you have enough games makers and at the very least have the decency to make regular contact with those of us, just hanging around, putting our lives on hold on a whim that someone at London 2012 might actually think 'oh yeah, we need to let those poor people know and thank them for their dedication'

Please do not send an automated reply. I think it's probably about time a human got in touch.

I look forward to waiting for your response, but I am not hopeful.



Thursday 19 July 2012

"Your Summer so far in your expat country"

A blog hop by Tales from Windmill Fields

Well I hit a hurdle and wasn't sure how I could join in as it's winter down here in the South Hemisphere.

However I was in the UK in June

The view from my bedroom window at my parents house in South Wales

The view from my favourite coffee shop in South week later

20 years on from Barcelona #olympics

20 years ago I was packing to go to the Olympics in Barcelona

20 years on I'm disappointed

Wednesday 18 July 2012

#67minutes #mandela

July 18th is the 94th Birthday of Nelson Mandela. To celebrate his birthday people are asked to donate 67 minutes of their time to help out and volunteer to worthy causes.

This is where I spent my 67 minutes (well 255 minutes and then several more hours at home) cutting magazines to make bunting for the Nickel Xmas Market

I shall be returning next week, complete with sewing machine to make more bunting.
So how does this help this organisation? Kungwini Welfare Organisation KWO is an organisation overseeing and raising funds for many projects in the community. The Nickel Xmas Market supports people with disabilities and job creation for unemployed women and youth.

The Paul Jungnickel Home is KWO's largest and oldest project and a project close to my heart as my (step) daughter is in care in the UK, the funding she receives per year is around the same amount that this facility gets for ALL their 140 residents.

I also need to mention the 67 cupckes I made for The Baby House check out their facebook page.

It's never too late to donate 67 minutes of your time. Either contact the organisation direct or tweet me if you want to know more about what you can do.

What is it with cats and cupboards?

We had cats, dogs and caged pets growing up as kids and other than playing, walking or cleaning and feeding, I never really paid much attention to them.
As an adult I’ve had birds, hamsters and fish when the children were small, but despite their requests for a dog and/or a cat we’ve never had a pet that lives outside a bowl or a small cage. What about holidays? Days out? Work? Etc
A couple of years ago I discovered the joys of keeping a chicken as a pet, we hatched a few from eggs, had homes lined up for them as they got too big for the garden and always kept just the one. Ruby. She had character, came into the house, she wasn’t trained, would peck at the door for food and follow us around the garden for attention, liking to perch on the end of the chair when we sat Down for a cuppa in the garden. We had enough troubles with our visa, let alone getting Ruby through quarantine so we re housed her.

In March we were adopted by a cat, she started hanging around the house, coming in, accepting tit bits of food, until it became clear she wasn’t going to leave. We advertised her as ‘found’ and after 4 weeks we bought her a collar, food bowl and a little bed. When we moved after 2 months we were worried she wouldn’t come with us, she had become part of our daily lives, but she stayed and her personality has started to show through.
She comes running when you shake her treat box to bring her in at night; she is prompt with her requests for feeding at 7am, 2pm and 6pm. She sits by our feet when we are cooking in the kitchen, swiping us round the leg with her paw to remind us she is there in exchange for some titbits
If I don’t stick to her timetable for feeding she follows me around the house, nudging me towards the kitchen, standing in doorways to stop me going in a room, wrapping her front paws round my leg to stop me in my tracks, she pleads and how can I refuse?

If a cupboard is open she is in it, if I attempt to work at my desk she sits on the keyboard of my laptop, if I sit down to watch the TV, she places herself in front of it. The rest of the time she sleeps and she never, ever walks into a room, she morphs.

Learning to drive in South Africa

First things first, call your insurance company to find out what the costs are...shock, horror, no additional charge to learn to drive an excess increase of R300. In the UK the additional cost of insurance and the increase in the excess meant the older two boys were banned from learning to drive in my car.
So after you obtain your TRN as you’re a foreigner, you apply for your learners licence on the day of or after your 17th birthday, set the theory test date, between 6-12 weeks away, revise, sit the test, buy L plates and Mum says goodbye to her freedom as 17yo son will now offer to go everywhere with you, just so they can drive.
So you take your son out and let him drive around the security estate, but he can’t get out of 2nd gear with the speed limit, he moves the car well, he is sensible, calm, he listens, but I didn’t want to take him onto the roads too soon, so off to the local game reserve, where he could...
Practice his emergency stops

Know what to do at a zebra crossing

Can a house cause depression?

I don’t know if it’s because I’m making friends now or diving in head first with volunteer work or the fact after 19 months life has some normality to it, but I seriously believe that the last house had a negative vibe which caused depression.
The first house was luxurious, think Kevin McCloud and Grand Design, but it wasn’t a home, it was cold, open planned, no privacy or space for one self. It was an entertainers home, designed for a team of domestic staff to cook, clean, tidy, manage. It wasn’t a house for us; one we could make a home.
We were new to the country, no friends, not used to having staff even if it costs a pittance to employ them.

As you know we’ve had no assistance from Hubbies Company for the move to SA, then into a rental house, then a further move 2 months ago. We didn’t know what to expect other than high crime and extreme poverty and while it does exist, the country is so very different. Different in every way imaginable, different from my comfort zone.
So feeling at home has been very important to me, as a family. We need a secure base to work from, as long as we have a home to come back to at the end of the day then everything will be ok.

The new house feels like home, it has rooms, where we can cut ourselves off from the rest of the family or all be together in the same area, doing different things. There is direct access to the outside without having to go down 2 flights of stairs, every room is usable for whatever we want it to be, the furniture fits, its flows with the house, with our needs.
We have a lease on our new home for a year with an option to renew for another, if I get my way, this will be our home for the foreseeable future.

Court Orders and Visa applications

OMFG I’ve had enough, I’ve heard it all now.

We hired an agency that quite frankly has been more than less than useless.
We applied for our initial visa from the UK and it took 6 weeks, lots of return trips with additional paperwork that they forget to tell you about.
So we renew our application in South Africa and everything is pretty much the same...or so you’d think.
The home office has requested the court order for my custody of the kids from a divorce 12 years ago. There isn’t one. We agreed to divorce, sell the house split the profits and debts 50/50. The kids stayed living with me, there were no formal arrangements, they stayed with their dad when they wanted to, he pays a regular sum into my bank account, goes half on school uniform/trips/soccer gear etc. We discuss the holidays and consult with one another before booking, we leave Christmas as a last minute arrangement, and there’s been no stress. He wrote a letter to the Home Office for our initial application to say he gave permission for them to live with me and hubby and to move to South Africa in the first place.

I hope that we don’t need the court order; I don’t want to rock a boat that isn’t unsteady in the first place.

Saturday 14 July 2012

Why I'm no longer a groovy mum

I wrote this post about my life being put on hold but I didn't write about what and how I was going to make changes and TBH I'm still not really sure.

I'm a 'new' me, I lost my groove, I've realised it can never be recovered. I've lost my way, my identity and my groove and no amount of fighting is going to bring it all back.

Things have to change, they have to be different. So far I've fought it, life as an expat trailing spouse seems to be golf, tennis, bridge, coffee's not me.

I actually enjoy being on my own, but I need something to do, a purpose, an end product to show, to say 'look what I've done today' My life is no longer measurable by a monthly salary slip.

I've learnt to sew.
I've time to do arts and crafts, fix things, write, blog, play with the cat.
I'm capable now of dropping everything for an opportunity to go out.
I've stopped getting stressed if the dishwasher isn't unloaded the second it finishes.
I still shout, but I don't get angry anymore.

But I can't do this forever. I've nearly finished making curtains. There's only so many things I can make before I run out of places to put things or people to give them to.

So I've made a list of personal challenges based on what people here do, what people suggest I do and what I actually want to do.

So I'm turning my blog into a book. I don't have any plans to look for a publisher or self promote as an ebook. I've also written 30,000 words in chick lit style, that I'm determined to finish and will put it together for for mum to read.

I need to get back into using the gym, but it's winter and too cold when I get out after a swim, so I'm going for a walk every day. I need to set the DVD player upstairs so I can do a keep fit routine.

I'm going to try golf, I'm not having any lessons, I'm just going to go down the driving range over the road, we have some right handed clubs and I'll just smack a few balls around.

I've made contact with a woman who teaches at UNISA and asked her for further info so I can resume my studies.

I've made contact with several organisations I've been volunteering for to make arrangements for a more permanant volunteer role.

I'm researching and writing proposals for #bloggingforsouthafrica

So watch this space as I reinvent myself based on the limitations of my visa and family finances.

Putting my plans on hold

No I will not become this person; I don't want to be this person. There were never any plans for me to become a new person.

I liked my life, I liked me.

Two years (2010) ago my life was:

3 kids at home (2 had already left) the 3rd eldest child was planning on leaving home, in the September, to start a new life 120 miles away training in hotel management.

We had booked a 2 week holiday to Tunisia for the 5 of us and hubby and I were planning our annual trip for a week to Vegas. (we went in October)

Outside of my family I had a career, my studies, my love of Birmingham City .I was teaching NVQ level 2 & 3 to mature students wanting to train as Teaching Assistants. I developed the course contents, contributed to paper work design, planned and delivered sessions and assessed in the work place. I also worked as a Child Welfare Officer for the County FA and I was involved in the RESPECT campaign once a month at Wembley. I was also in my final year of a BSc Hons Criminological Studies and Psychology. I ran a local football team consisting of 12 clubs, did their fundraising and organised their presentation nights.

On September the 8th 2010 my life was put on hold as we were offered a move to South Africa with hubbies job, taking the 2 youngest children with us.

I finished up work, ensured all my students has completed their NVQ. Tied up all the multi agency cases, ensured all the paperwork was up to date, did a full handover after assisting with the interviewing for my replacement, organised the house to be decorated and rented out, notified all of change of address, waved good bye to family and friends and set off to....what?

Hold...that's life has been put on hold and I don't know what to do with myself. We've moved twice since we've been here, applied to renew our visas, sorted out issues with school, screamed, shouted, cried, complained almost nonstop about not getting any help with utility bills, moving etc...but that's what I do, I organise, I fact find, I sort things out, it's what I'm good at, but in between? What do I do with myself?

I'm bored, I'm frustrated...I need a purpose, but what's stopping me?

I'm here on a visitor’s visa, there are laws, I don't fulfil the criteria, and apparently I can work cash in hand, so people say.

I try to get motivated, I'm involved in a few charities but it's not regular, it could be, but it's me who does the entertaining, the school holidays, is in charge with no back up when hubby is away and it's hard to get motivated when no one is there to motivate.

We arrived January 2011 since then we moved in Feb, son visited in March, April was school hols, June parents were out, July MIL and SIL visited, August youngest and I were back in the UK. I had Sept and Oct without disruption, Nov son out, Dec back to UK. then in 2012 Jan MIL visited, Feb was free, March friend visited, April school hols, May son visited, June I returned to the UK as my dad had a heart attack and we moved house and we renewed our visa application.

It's nearly the end of July and yet still I'm hanging around, waiting for other people to make decisions. I've been putting off my involvement with Santa Shoe Box, The Baby House, Teaching in a township because I'm worried I may have to return to the UK soon because of my dad, hubby has some European trips lined up, I'm on the shortlist for the London Olympics and at this late stage of the day it will be very short notice now.

It might seem that I've achieved a lot since September 2010, but you'd be wrong...I've done a lot since then, but don't think I've achieved anything on a personal level.

So now I need to make plans, plans for me, yes I'll still sort out all the family stuff, that's always been my role and I actually rather enjoy it all, but I need something for me in all of this, but I just don't know what or how yet...but from now on I’m not going to be at the beck and call of others.

Thursday 5 July 2012

Why I'm disappointed with the London Olympics

So you volunteer to work 10 hours a day for 2 weeks our more .

You fill in application form, submit and wait.

Tah interview, but since then you've moved 6000 miles away.

You call and explain you're in South Africa on a visitors visa and you're still available...yes, it's ok, you're still a British Citizen, so you arrange a phone interview....June 2011.

They call, explain what will happen and the interview will last 30 mins....60 mins later you come off the phone, confident you've covered everything, then they call you back... 'would you be interested in a leadership role?'. You'd be happy directing traffic.

So you wait, a trip back to the UK, family and friends come to visit, endless questions... ' Have you heard?' ... Cut off date is April 30th, you check emails daily, weekly, hourly.....refresh, refresh, follow #gamesmaker, people tweet you, they have their offer...and the deadline passes.

You receive an automated email 'thank you, busy time and all that'

Basically you're on a waiting list. You're second choice, just incase anyone drops out...OK I can deal with that...You'll know by June 30th...

You need yo make plans, your Husband needs to know what's going on so he can plan his European trip, you can't both be out the country and leave the kids for 2 weeks.

You check on the games maker website in case you miss an email....your application has been You call,'it's ok we will reinstate you' but have you missed your chance? How? When? Why? You're reassured you'll be reinstated and an email it's sent to the relevant department. That was May 23rd, you call again on May 28th and June 8th and finally on July 2nd. They email you July 5th to say you're now reinstated.

But it's past June 30th and you still haven't heard, so you resign yourself that you're not wanted then July 4th another automated email to tell you you're now 3rd choice and please be availabale at short need 72 hours to arrange your flight, get someone to collect you and find somewhere to sleep for 2 weeks, as cheaply as possible as you blew the money you saved on your trip back to see your dad after his heart attack last month.

Just how short is short notice? The games start in 3 weeks.

The system of selecting volunteers does not take into account individuals needs, obviously they can't consider every single child care or dental appointment requests, but they have failed to acknowledge that people may have flights to book, may need to ask for time off work.

After all you're offering your time and services for free, well not for free actually, you're not only going to work 10 hours a day, but you're taking time off work, paying your costs to get to zone 7 of the London Underground, find accomodation etc.

Has anyone told you the Olympics are on in the UK in July, August and September? Flights, accomodation? If they are still available they are going to be damned bloody expensive.

Sunday 1 July 2012

Art on Main ... Jo'burg on foot

I don't do exploring very well, I like to know where I'm off and what I can expect to find.

but this morning I got into the car to be taken to a surprise venue.

We headed south on the N1 towards jo'burg. Then into jo'burg, through Hilbrow and I started to panic.....i really didn't want to be there, past Ellis Park, which doesn't feel as safe as when I was there last year to watch the football as the security was obvious. Down a few side streets, and parked on the side of the road to discover Art on Main.

Lots of little cafes, bars and street vendors, a fashion show and salsa dancing on the rooftops.

Very friendly people, mind you the rasta who stopped us for a chat was from Hampshire.

So we had a little walk, took some photos, ate a fab breakfast, bumped into a couple we knew and shared a coffee.

But that was it